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December 17, 2014

'The Way We Worked' opens Saturday in Pell City

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 8:16 pm | Updated: 12:31 pm, Sat Jul 19, 2014.

PELL CITY – The Smithsonian exhibit “The Way We Worked” will officially open Saturday morning.

Pam Foote, the local project director for the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit, said the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the exhibit is set for 10 a.m. in the Pell City Center, also known as CEPA, adjacent to the Pell City High School.

“We want to invite people to be here for the Saturday opening,” Foote said. “We would like a big crowd.”

A local exhibit, “The Way We Worked Pell City,” will be shown alongside the national Smithsonian exhibit.

“The magic of the program is watching cities come together and tell their story beside the national narrative,” said Thomas Bryant, the grants director for the Alabama Humanities Foundation, which is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution to bring the exhibit to various cities scattered across Alabama.

Pell City is the first of six stops in the state for the national exhibit. The traveling exhibit will also appear in Athens, Valley, Cullman, Demopolis and Dothan, Bryant said.

He said he Smithsonian exhibit tells the story of American industry over the course of the country’s history.

“You see some really cool photos, from agriculture to industrial to high tech,” Bryant said. “Some of them (exhibits) are interactive with video and sound.”

Organizers said there are about 24 free standing exhibits in The Way We Worked, with about six free standing exhibits specific to the Pell City and the surrounding areas.

“It’s really impressive,” Bryant said of The Way We Worked Pell City exhibit.

He said most of the photographs in the national exhibit come from the National Achieves, showing various aspects of the American worker during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

People will enter the exhibit through a replica of the entrance to the old Avondale Mills factory.

Officials said those who attend Saturday’s opening might just hear that old Avondale Mills whistle blow, which routinely let Avondale Mills employees know it was time to go to work.

Foote said guests will see, through the local exhibit, how Pell City evolved and grew into what it is today.

One section of the exihibit focuses on the lake, the building of Logan Martin Dam, and how that changed the economy and helped the city grow. There is also an exhibit on “how we work now” in the local exhibit, and the exhibit will include artifacts from different industries from around St. Clair County.

Foote said The Way We Worked exhibit will remain at the Pell City Center for five weeks, closing Aug. 23.

The exhibit is open this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is only open on two other Saturdays, July 26 from 4 to 7 p.m., and Aug. 23, the final weekend the exhibit will remain in Pell City.

The exhibit is open to the public each Monday through Friday for the next five weeks, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are scheduling tours,” Foote said.

She said churches, schools and civic organizations wishing to schedule a group tour should contact CEPA at 205-338-1974.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

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